Questioning Consensus, Cultivating Conflict

Christian De Cock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article puts into question the preoccupation with consensus and convergence that seems to characterize the field of organization and management theory (OMT). Much effort has been directed to providing a model of unification legitimating the political containment of conflictual diversity. Even potentially controversial debates (such as the “paradigm wars”) have taken on a rather tired quality as academics tend to look for middle ground or are happy to retreat into private language games. This article suggests that we should move beyond bridging or containment strategies and strive for a true repoliticization of the field. This presupposes that we learn to value notions of conflict and struggle again, rather than muffling them by referring to a common so-called professionalism. In developing the argument, the article connects with the thinking of Mikhail Bakhtin, offering a challenge to integration and/or consensus and fragmentation and/or incommensurability discourses that seem so prevalent in the field today.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)18-30
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bakhtin
  • Paradigm wars
  • Pluralism
  • Politics
  • Relevance debates

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